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Old 02-18-2012, 11:13 AM   #26
Jerichi
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>と読む --> in Kantou dialect, pretty sure 読む doesn't take と at all.

I could be totally wrong about this but wouldn't it be grammatical to say

僕は友だちと本を読んだ。

"I read a book with my friend."

I mean reading it that way makes "毎日漢字と読む" make no sense, but the way you phrased it makes it sound like you can't use と at all.

EDIT: Atari's Kanji site is at the very least entertaining.

新品 = Brand New Shit

Last edited by Jerichi; 02-18-2012 at 11:22 AM.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:03 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerichi View Post
>と読む --> in Kantou dialect, pretty sure 読む doesn't take と at all.

I could be totally wrong about this but wouldn't it be grammatical to say

僕は友だちと本を読んだ。

"I read a book with my friend."

I mean reading it that way makes "毎日漢字と読む" make no sense, but the way you phrased it makes it sound like you can't use と at all.
The example you provided is with と as a preposition, not as a direct object marker for the verb 読む to take. Now we're getting syntactical (and off-topic), but I don't mind too much if it helps to clarify ...

Spoiler: show
What he wrote: 漢字と読むことを勉強していますが
Break-down 1: [(漢字と読む)こと]を勉強していますが where you have a noun phrase
Break-down 2: (漢字)と(読むこと)を勉強していますが where you have two nouns

How I read it: 1
How he intended it: 2

He intended it as noun 1 + と + noun 2, but I read it as noun + と + verb + こと.

Why I read it as 1: because he took the special effort of writing the noun phrase 漢字と読むこと as demonstrated by his use of こと and the organizational pattern noun + と + verb + こと. You might say, "Well, the fact that you know that 読む doesn't take と ought to inform you, Talon, that it isn't reading 1. " But as you witnessed, so powerful is the impression of noun+particle+verb+こと as a noun phrase that I actually did question whether he knew that 読む doesn't take と. Furthermore, the fact that kanji are a common object of the verb (reading? ), it seemed more natural to assume that he was talking about his kanji reading practice than to assume that he was talking about kanji (in all that that entails) and then separately talking about reading. Why even bother mention reading at all if you're going to intend kanji to be all-encompassing and to mean both reading and writing?

But now I fear we're playing the Get Inside Someone Else's Head game and I'm not really fond of it in this particular instance. No harm on his part and thus no foul.

tl;dr I may have misread him and/or he may have written an ambiguously-structured sentence. And now for an aside ...

More about Moras

I would recommend this article on moras as introductory reading for anyone who has never taken a Japanese linguistics class before. This material, in my experience, is not covered in most introductory language courses and is reserved for linguistics courses or higher-level language courses, so depending on your program and instructor, you may or may not have ever encountered this topic before. In any event, click on the audio file that you see below the map of Japan on the right-hand side of the page. She does a very good job demonstrating moras for some common words.

One important thing to note about moras, though, is that they're not necessarily fixed. The way to properly intone a word all on its own can differ from the way to properly intone it when it's used in a phrase or sentence. Really, the best way to learn how to speak properly is by listening practice (hearing people say it the right way) and speaking practice (being corrected by native speakers when you err). One example that comes to mind is 医者 isha "doctor." Depending on how it's used, the correct intonation can be _¯ (as when it's stand-alone), it can be -- or ¯¯ (as when it's used in some words) or it can be -_ (as when it's used in some other words). You can hear the _¯ pattern in many phrases where 医者 is the first word, e.g. 医者に掛ける or 医者の指図, whereas in words where 医者 comes last, you can hear the falling pitch pattern instead, as in 筍医者. So just keep that in mind: the dictionary's definition of how to intone a particular word when it's all on its own may differ from the correct way to intone it when it's used in a sentence.
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Old 02-18-2012, 12:35 PM   #28
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>Talon

Oh, okay, I get what he's trying to say now. I read it as "Reading Kanji". I think it probably would have been better composed as 「漢字と読み」 が 「漢字の読み」 in that case. Better yet, if we were talking about reading and writing together, 「漢字の書き方と読み」.

But that's hardly relevant.

>mora

Fascinating topic and a subtlety that I feel a lot of non-native speakers miss really easily.
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Old 02-21-2012, 03:37 PM   #29
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>Caps thing

Oh, oops. I've always been taught that capital vowels in pronounciation guides implied the letter saying it's name. But, now I realize that the letter o ALWAYS makes the 'O' sound by itself. XD


Anyway, I was wondering- how do you make it so your computer can type characters?
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Though, I also dislike the concept of lamenting the current day while wishing to re-experience the past. At least, my modern attitude is to try and make each new day magical even if it's not, since exclusively reminiscing about the past is too pathetic.
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Old 02-21-2012, 04:52 PM   #30
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How to install (WinXP): see Microsoft walkthrough here

Once You Have East Asian Fonts Installed

Windows:
Alt + Shift is how I toggle between languages. Once in Japanese mode, Alt + ` is how I toggle between alphanumeric Latin characters and hiragana. I don't remember if these are hotkeys that I manually mapped or if these are the default hotkeys for Windows XP. Pretty sure it's the latter since I'm pretty sure Alt + Shift will toggle languages on other computers I've used as well.

MacOSX:
Pretty sure it's something very similar. Whether it's the command key + Shift or whether it's the command key plus something else, I think there's a two-key hotkey combo you can do.

Last edited by Talon87; 06-01-2012 at 10:01 AM. Reason: changed Ctrl to Alt
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Old 02-23-2012, 08:23 PM   #31
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All of this looks really cool and makes me want to attempt this when I have a lot of free time, like during the summer. It looks kinda daunting right now.
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Old 03-08-2012, 03:07 AM   #32
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Woah, just realized I hadn't actually thanked Talon. >_>
So, thanks!



Ah, just my luck. I decide to do a little baby-style learning after learning Harigana- and all the Japanese I ever see is written in Katakana! XD
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People should watch what they enjoy regardless of what others think, even if it's a terribad guilty pleasure.
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Originally Posted by Doppleganger View Post
Though, I also dislike the concept of lamenting the current day while wishing to re-experience the past. At least, my modern attitude is to try and make each new day magical even if it's not, since exclusively reminiscing about the past is too pathetic.
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Old 03-08-2012, 01:39 PM   #33
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Honestly, Kana is probably the easiest part of Japanese (though it does take a while to get used to reading them fluently). But it is also probably the most important part of getting started!
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Old 06-04-2012, 01:53 PM   #34
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So. I've been trying to learn some words (I'm pretty much finished mastering Kata), and I've found something interesting when talking to my friends- is it true that 'です' is pronounced 'des'? Why is this? Do you drop the 'u' sound when it's at the end of a word, or something? And, if so, does this only apply to when it's combined with a consonant sound like in 'す' or 'く', or does it also apply to 'う'?


(All writting is in Hara because I <3 how smooth Hara's letters are.)
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People should watch what they enjoy regardless of what others think, even if it's a terribad guilty pleasure.
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Though, I also dislike the concept of lamenting the current day while wishing to re-experience the past. At least, my modern attitude is to try and make each new day magical even if it's not, since exclusively reminiscing about the past is too pathetic.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:04 PM   #35
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First, a word of caution: katakana isn't shortened to "kata"; and "hara" isn't even right since it's hiragana, not haragana. Collectively the syllabary is called kana for short since that is what they are: the "kata kana" (katakana) and the "hira kana" (hiragana), both being types of "kana." But you will not find people calling them "kata and hira" or even "kata" and "hira" separately.

Second, the answer to your question. You'll find many answers online. What I was taught in school, and what I believe to be correct, is that the vowel sound is intoned by native speakers in most cases but is done so in an almost under-the-breath kind of way. To non-native speakers like us, in most cases we dichotomize and either declare that we heard "DESS" or that we heard "DESU," the vast majority (>95%) going to the "DESS" camp. But to native speakers and, if you listen closely enough, even to non-native speakers, you will find that most (>90%) of the ですs are pronounced with that masked vowel sound.

audio sample of ですから desukara
audio sample of デス desu ("death")

It might help to approach it from a psychological angle. One of my college instructors related to us that when he was growing up in Japan he had so firmly believed that the consonant sounds you made with your mouth were always followed up with a vowel sound afterwards that it had blown his mind when he had learned that English uses a great many consonants back to back with no intermittent vowels. For example, how we say play and not pulay. Or how we say sty and not suty. It totally, totally blew his mind that you could say a consonant without a vowel having to come afterwards. (Never mind ん terminal n, this is his story, not mine, so don't ask me to explain that one. ) The relevance of this story to today's question is, it's quite possible that です as "DESS" to our ears but "DESu" to theirs is a natural result of their desire to speak with minimal effort (and not have to voice vowels in terminal positions all the time! ) butting heads with a deeply-seeded belief on their part that a vowel has to be there. Vice-versa, the vowel is actually being said (albeit it so quietly) but to our ears which are so accustomed to terminal consonants we naturally hear it as "DESS" with some residual air whistling through rather than "DESu" or "DESU" where that 'residual air' is actually a vowel being deliberately and properly formed. In other words, we're in a very strange gray area with this word where you might even say that both parties are right and yet at the same time both parties are wrong. ^^;

In the end, I'd say roll with "DESS" over "DESU." If you want to attempt "DESu," go for it, but it's very hard to pull off and probably shouldn't even be entertained in the absence of a native speaking partner who can assess your performance. I'd also encourage you to listen to audio samples for yourself and pay attention to how you feel you're hearing the copula. I'd wager good money that you're going to hear "DESS" in most cases. And that's fine. Because that's "right" ........ even if it's wrong.
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Old 06-04-2012, 03:58 PM   #36
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So 'Hiragana' () and 'Katakana' are known as 'Kana' together, and apart they have to be refered to as their full names? 'K, I'll have to remember that.

Okay, so it's just Desu which has that, and it can be either straight up 'DESS' or with a barely pronounced 'u' sound at the end? Thanks, that clears things up a lot! ^_^

...Out of curiosity, are there any other words which work like that?
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People should watch what they enjoy regardless of what others think, even if it's a terribad guilty pleasure.
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Though, I also dislike the concept of lamenting the current day while wishing to re-experience the past. At least, my modern attitude is to try and make each new day magical even if it's not, since exclusively reminiscing about the past is too pathetic.
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Old 06-04-2012, 04:21 PM   #37
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To be honest, it's pretty rare for a word to end in a consonant rather than a vowel in Japanese. Even with the other forms of the copula, you still say the u: である is not de ar, でござる is not de gozar, etc. What makes it even stranger is that we can't just explain it away as dropping a terminal vowel sound -- not only because other terminal vowels in other words are kept but because the u in です is muffled even when the word appears mid-sentence. (See the ですから soundbyte in the above post for a great example of this.)

One of the few other examples that comes to mind for a terminal vowel drop muffle is the slang term ういっす that some people use. Sounds like the French word "suisse" without the s in front, meaning the u sound at the end of the word, as in です, is muffled. That stated, I feel like it's more detectable in ういっす than in です, and is sometimes even fully enunciated with a strong "SU" sound, implying that even this is not a 100% accurate comparison.

All this stated, you will doubtless notice that short vowels in some words tend to almost sound omitted. This is especially common with (surprise surprise) our friend the す/ス and in English loan words. For instance, consider: スタミナ stamina, スポーク spoke, and ステーキ steak. But keep in mind that the vowel is not technically dropped here and that there are a great many examples of す words where you hear it quite noticeably, like 砂 suna (listen, "suna," not "sna"), 素直 sunao (listen, "sunao," not "snao"), and 素晴らしい subarashii (listen, "subarashii," not "sbarashii" or other possibly slurred forms). By and large, vowel sounds are enunciated clearly in Japanese: it's just that in common parlance, the pace of the language is so fast that, to foreign ears, there'll be a great many words you might think sound like they suspiciously feature a dropped vowel sound where really there was no such drop.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:17 PM   #38
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So, I've procrastinated on 1) collating all of my vocabulary lists into one master document and providing it here, 2) updating my college grammar tutorials and providing them here as well, and 3) providing other resources to beginners, intermediates, and advanced students. Apologies. However! The combination of the "Your Vocabulary" thread's Word of the Day evolution as well as some chitchatting in a LiveStream last night has made me wonder if there would be any interest in a Word of the Day/Week thing here. For now we'll keep the rules fairly simple and change them as necessary as we go.

Working Rules:
Spoiler: show
Rule #1, you can provide up to one beginner word and up to one non-beginner word a day.

Rule #2, you must provide at least one beginner word. Use common sense in deciding what a beginner word is. Vocabulary should be something learned in the first year or two of a college course, kanji should probably not go past the first two grade levels' worth of kanji in Japanese schools. (In other words, 春 yay, 自動販売機 boo even though the word is learned in hiragana by most college students in their first few years.)

Rule #3, I said up to one word for each category but you can provide related words as necessary to prove educational points. For example, if you opted to go with 凸 I wouldn't be against you pairing it up with 凹. Or if you were teaching 彼 I wouldn't be against you explaining that it's not only the common kanji for kare but also the rarely-used kanji for are. The idea with Rule #1 is simply that you shouldn't be spamming unrelated words you want to show off. For example, no 風船 + 切符 + 幼馴染 + 栗 all in one day.

Rule #4, have fun. One person's worthless word is another person's worthwhile word. I've found many times that a rather oddball word can be very useful to me because I have a personal interest in knowing it and because of that I then remember how the word sounds and it helps me out with other words that use those same characters. I'm sure many/most others are the same way. Not every word submitted to the thread is going to be worth much to you, being either too advanced or too basic or too irrelevant to your own interests. But any given word could be relevant to someone else's interests or be appropriate for their level.

That's about it for rules. I don't want to standardize much more than that at this early hour because I know some people are naturally more thorough than others and I'm not certain requiring everyone to conform to a thorough or a simple standard is best.

So, I guess with that stated, let's give this a try and see how popular it is / how long it lasts. Note: if you find the thread beneficial but have nothing to add, please let us know anyway that you find it beneficial. No one's a mind reader so we've know way of knowing whether we're annoying people by bumping this thread or whether we're actually rendering a net positive service to the community.
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Old 10-18-2012, 12:35 PM   #39
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 18, 2012)

Beginner: 山 mountain
onyomi: サン (voiced to ザン in many cases), セン
kunyomi: やま
other notes: a fun character for beginner students. Easy and fun to write. Commonly used in many names (e.g. Yamamoto, Yamasaki, and so on). Pictorially obvious.

Non-Beginner: 冬眠 hibernation
reading: とうみん
components: 冬 トウ "winter" + 眠 ミン "sleep"
other notes: not a word you'll use often but I find it's a nice combination of the onyomi for two words most intermediate students are more familiar with only for their kunyomi, 冬 ふゆ and 眠(る) ねむ(る).

Reminder: you don't have to follow my format to a tee if you don't like. Less detail, more detail ... do what suits you best. Just follow the basic rules.
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:58 AM   #40
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 19, 2012)

I'm going to lightly cheat and make up for yesterday's missed entry. Then I'll provide today's as well.

Beginner: 川 river
onyomi: セン
kunyomi: かわ
other notes: Another fun, easy character. You see it many names (e.g. Kawasaki, Tanigawa). It's another one for which you can see how it makes sense pictorially.

Non-Beginner: だらしない slovenly; loose; sluttish; slatternly; untidy; undisciplined; careless
other notes: you'll often hear this exact word in the phrase だらしない男 used by women in describing men who don't measure up. In fact, I first heard it myself many years ago in via Dead or Alive (click here to hear a sample) but it wasn't until years later that I learned the word.
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:33 PM   #41
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 20, 2012)

Thinking it over yesterday, I realized that most beginner students are going to be gung-ho about learning Japanese anyway and so are probably going to teach themselves the core basics (colors, numbers, directions, and so on). Thus, I probably shouldn't bother with those as I have been thus far. I still might provide some core basics from time to time but for now I'll try to provide words which I think 1) are suitable to a beginner's level, 2) are of practical use, and/or 3) are interesting to most people.

Beginner: 真 truth, reality, genuineness; purity; sincerity, honesty; integrity; fidelity
onyomi: シン
kunyomi: まこと, ま, ま-, まな
other notes: This is one hell of a useful character for any beginner to learn but which I think many overlook at first 'cause it doesn't have that beginner fun factor that "cat" or "red" or words like those have. But the thing is, the Japanese use this character in a whole bunch of ways, all of which are useful for you even at the beginning of your studies. Some examples:
  • 真っ- is often used to convey purity, e.g. 真っ白 まっしろ "pure white"
  • 真 is sometimes used to convey totality or truth, e.g. 真ん中 まんなか "dead center" (where 中 alone implies middle) or 写真 しゃしん "photograph" (which literally reads "copy truth" or "a copy of the truth")
  • 真 (read まこと) as a stand-alone word carries meanings like "honesty" or "integrity" (which fits in with a broader definition of "truth") and is used as a given name in Japan
  • and much more I encourage you to look up!
I think I first learned this word when they taught us 真ん中 まんなか back in Japanese 101 or 102 and then I learned the kanji for it in 201 when they taught us 写真. But I can't stress enough how much it comes up in all sorts of places. Very useful!

Non-beginner: 自慢 n. pride; boast
reading: じまん
components: 自 ジ "oneself" + 慢 "ridicule; laziness"
other notes: 慢 is a character you see in a lot of intermediate and advanced words, many of which have to do with conceit. Some sample words where the character pops up include 我慢 endurance (as in 我慢する "to bear with [something]") and 高慢 haughtiness. Not to be confused with 漫 as in 漫画 "manga"! You can appreciate that both gain their reading from the shared radical on the right. Oh, and I forgot to mention: you see 自慢 a lot in the 自慢の[名詞] setup, e.g. "my prize curry" / "my curry of which I am so proud / confident in its quality", or 自慢のカレー. Stuff like that. That was actually the main reason I wanted to share this with you: not for the kanji radical lesson but for the utility of the term. So yeah, listen for it! You will hear it used more than than you think!
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Old 10-21-2012, 10:39 PM   #42
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 21, 2012)

Beginner: 名前 name
reading: なまえ
components: 名 な "name" + 前 まえ "before, in front of"
other notes: If you want to say "My name is John," one way to say it is 「わたし の なまえ は John です。」 (Quite literally "My name is John.") If you want to ask somebody else there name, you might ask them 「おなまえ は なん ですか?」 There are many ways to ask and to tell just as there are in English but these two sentences represent some basics which make use of today's word of the day.

And for our non-beginner word, let's take a swing at something grammatical today, shall we?

Non-Beginner: たび "each time", "every time", "[#] time"
reading: たび; corresponding kanji is 度 which you are probably much more used to thinking of as ど; however, as a grammatical component it is almost always written in hiragana
other notes: This one is best taught via example.
  • 私はこの手紙を読むたび、泣いてしまいます。 "Every time I read this letter, I cry."
  • でも友達で笑うたびに手を叩く人がいます。 "But out of my friends there are some who clap their hands each time they laugh."
  • 最近寝るたびに悪夢を見て、眠るのが怖いです。 "Recently every time I go to sleep I have nightmares so now I'm afraid to go to sleep."
This is a pretty useful one that you will hear a lot, especially in the common niche word 再び (ふたたび) which, surprise surprise, can also be written as 二度 (ふたつ minus the つ plus たび). The word means "again; once more; a second time." You will hear it a lot, I'm sure, if you listen for it. I find that futatabi has a certain sound character to it that one just can't ignore.
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Old 10-22-2012, 11:10 PM   #43
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 22, 2012)

FYI, anybody who wants to submit up to two words a day can. Morg asked me about this last night so I realized I must not have communicated that well. My apologies. Anyone who would like to submit a word or two may. The only limitation I was putting in was a limit on the number of submissions per member per day. So with that said ...

Beginner: 多分 "probably"
reading: たぶん
components: 多 た "many" 分 ぶん "cuts, divisions"
other notes: でしょう/だろう are copulas which also translate into English as "probably." And the two (多分 and でしょう/だろう) are often paired together. But some examples should shed some light on when you would use this 多分:
  • 私は多分彼を私達の会長に選びます。 わたし は たぶん かれ を わたしたち の かいちょう に え らびます。 "I will probably choose him to be our [company] president."
  • 多分彼は悪い子ではないと思います。 たぶん かれ は わるい こ では ない。 "He's probably not a bad kid."
  • たぶん大丈夫だ。 たぶん だいじょうぶ だ。 "It's probably fine."

Non-Beginner: 副作用 n. reaction, secondary effect, side effect
reading: ふくさよう
components: 副 フク "vice-", "duplicate" + 作 サ "make" + 用 ヨウ "use, service; task"
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:42 PM   #44
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 23, 2012)

Hmm. If nobody else posts a Word of the Day by tomorrow, and if no one PMs me indicating they're benefiting from this (so far, no one has), I'll go ahead and give it a rest. My intention was only to help people or offer something people found entertaining. If I'm accomplishing neither of these two things, then there's no point continuing. But for now ...!

Beginner: 少々"just a minute; small quantity"
reading: しょうしょう
components: 少 ショウ "a little" + 々special character used when repeating the same word twice in a row
other notes: you'll hear this one a whole bunch in the customer service expression 少々お待ちください "Please wait a little while." It's also useful to give you since you'll likely know 少 as the kanji used in the words 少し and 少ない but now you have its onyomi too.  々 is also something you can learn now if you like and can apply to words you likely already know such as 時々 ときどき "sometimes", 人々 ひとびと "people", or 日々 ひび "days".

Non-Beginner: 心臓 "heart" (as in the organ in the body)
reading: しんぞう
components: 心 シン "heart; spirit" + 臓 ゾウ "viscera"
other notes: first, this is a good word to learn vocabulary-wise if you didn't already know it. Second, it's a great word for teaching you the character suffix for visceral organs, 臓. I wrote a lot more here but it was for advanced students only and was pretty scarily long so I'm deleting it for now. ^^; But if you're interested in learning more about kanji that have to do with the human body, let me know.
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Old 10-24-2012, 08:59 AM   #45
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With all this talk of visceral organs, I think it's time for Health with Little Red Riding Hood.

BORKED

Lotsa good vocabulary in this one!
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:05 AM   #46
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That video covered a lot of what I deleted last night so I guess I may as well drop off what I deleted ...

The following list of words is pretty much for advanced students of the language but I'm providing them as examples for the intermediate to appreciate something he may have noticed before but not quite appreciated: the 肉月 radical used to indicate that the entity is visceral or fleshy.
  • 脳 のう "brain"
  • 肝 きも "liver" ; 肝臓 かんぞう "liver"
  • 肺臓 はいぞう "lungs"
  • 腎臓 じんぞう "kidneys"
  • 小腸 しょうちょう "small intestine"
Most organs have the 肉月 radical to the left to indicate that they're fleshy (e.g. 脳 のう "brain" or 肝 きも "liver"); but, the visceral organs of the body which don't have unique common names often take 臓 as a suffix to indicate that they are such organs. This is a bit of an advanced lesson (in the sense that I don't expect an intermediate to retain this information) but if you are an intermediate student then at the very least you've learned about the 肉月 radical (assuming you didn't know about it already; if you did, pat yourself on the back! ).

Advanced advanced: I should note that even organs which have their own common names can still take 臓, especially in medical literature, e.g. 肝 きも becomes 肝臓 かんぞう. This is just like in Western medicine how we call the organ the "kidney" but we have words like "nephrotic" or "renal" which borrow from Greek and Latin when describing it more medically. (Note: afaik 脳 does not take 臓 because the brain is not a visceral organ.)

Furthermore, some organs can be used without 臓 yet still with an onyomi rather than a kunyomi. For example, the word for lungs, 肺, only has one single reading: ハイ, an onyomi. So you might hear 肺臓 はいぞう but you might also hear 肺 はい all by itself. You see the same thing with the kidney, 腎臓 じんぞう and 腎 じん. Don't ask me why these characters don't have kunyomi. ^^;; It's actually a very interesting linguohistorical question, one I wish I knew the answer to.


As you can see, it was a bit too much. ^^;; But since you've gone and posted a video which uses many of these very words, I figure "Why the hell not. Clearly there's interest, even if medical terminology is something I'd say is for advanced students. That's the thing with language: you don't pick up 100% beginner 0% intermediate 0% advanced vocab, and then move on 100% beginner 100% intermediate 0% advanced before finally achieving fluency. That's just not how it goes. People learn like 30% beginner 2% intermediate 1% advanced. Then 50% beginner 15% intermediate 3% advanced. And then you get to somewhere like 90% beginner 50% intermediate 15% advanced. And it's like, wow, you know all these advanced and intermediate terms but you still don't know some of these basic ones. That's life. And that's also part of the fun of learning a language. ^_-
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Old 10-24-2012, 10:11 PM   #47
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 24, 2012)

Zero submissions from others but two PMs suggesting I keep it up. Well, okay then. But I know we have students of all levels on this board -- from fledgling beginners to the children of native-born speakers -- so I'd like to repeat that anyone who has a word they'd like to share can and should.

Beginner: 謝る "to apologize"
reading: あやまる
other notes: the kanji is beyond a beginner's level (though you're free to learn it if you like). I'm only recommending beginners learn the vocab word.

Non-Beginner: 余計 adj. "too much, unnecessary, excess"
reading: よけい
components: 余 ヨ "too much" + 計 ケイ "measure", "plan, plot, scheme"
other notes: 余 you may recognize as the kanji for あまり. (Note the common usage of あまり as "not very much / not very often" grammatically reflects preservation of 余's root meaning, "very much / too much", given its paired usage with the negative form of verbs.) 計 you should recognize as the same けい in 時計 とけい "clock" or 計画 けいかく "plan". A common sentence you will hear 余計 used in is of the form 余計なことするな, lit. "Don't do something unnecessary" but (in many though not necessarily all contexts) with an English equivalent meaning closer to "Mind your own business" / "Stay out of this." In this context, the meanings "unnecessary" and "unsolicited" bleed together, as you can appreciate. Another common one is of the form 余計なこと言うな, lit. "Don't say unnecessary things" but English equivalent to "You don't have to tell him things like that! >_<" or similar. Advanced lesson: 余, read よ, is the formal first person pronoun from olden times.

Last edited by Talon87; 10-25-2012 at 01:19 AM. Reason: added second sentence example for 余計
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Old 10-24-2012, 11:13 PM   #48
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>謝

Hey, that's the character for "shei shei" in Traditional Mandarin!
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Old 10-25-2012, 04:27 PM   #49
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 25, 2012)

Today's an intermediate combo with a more advanced beginner word (but still for beginners, I think ) and two very easy words for the intermediate level. But all are useful so yay~! ^_^

Beginner: 格好 "appearance", "shape, form"
reading: かっこう
components: 格 カッ "status, rank, case, character" + 好 コウ "like, fond of, pleasing"
other notes: used often all by itself, the beginner will recognize this from the phrase 格好いい かっこう いい "[subject]'s so cool! " that you hear all the time. And of course the opposite is 格好悪い かっこう わるい "uncool". But I should stress to the beginner it's quite often used on its own for the meanings given above, e.g. その格好は? "What's up with that get-up?" or こんな格好で済みません "Sorry for my appearance."

Non-Beginner: 正解 "correct" and 不正解 "incorrect"
readings: せいかい and ふせいかい
components: 正 セイ "correct" + 解 カイ "understand" ; 不 フ "non-"
other notes: two wonderful words to add to any intermediate's arsenal. They're a great application of three characters the student will have likely already learned or else be primed to learn. 正 from 正しい "correct", 解 from 解る but more than likely from 理解 "understanding", and 不 from God knows how many words. Any one of these three characters is wonderful to add to your arsenal. The fact that all three occur together in such a useful word is just sublime for the JSL student. Another note: just as in our language, the Japanese too have multiple words which cover the same or similar meanings. This is true for "correct" as well. So when do you hear 正解 or 不正解 being used? In my experience the most common place is like in the English exchange "What is 2 + 2?" "4!" "Correct." You don't use these terms for the English sentence "What is the correct way to fold a shirt?" They're more of the "that answer is correct/incorrect" kinds of situations.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:30 PM   #50
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Talon's Words of the Day (October 26, 2012)

Here's a reconstruction of what should have been yesterday's Word of the Day post. I was 95% of the way done with it when I accidentally navigated away in my tab. I've tried my best to remember all the words that came to mind yesterday and to reconstruct the post as it was. But by no means is either list exhaustive. There are a lot of words in Japanese for females.

Because of the nature of the topic, I'm providing more than one word for each difficulty level. But because of this, so as to not overwhelm the student, I'm only going to provide the characters, their readings, and what they mean in English at first. Below this I'll then append some notes so you know when the words are to be used.

Beginner: several words for girls and women
  • 女の人 おんな の ひと "woman"
  • 女の子 おんな の こ "girl"
  • 少女 しょうじょ "girl"
  • 女子 じょし "girl"
  • 女性 じょせい "woman"
  • 婦人 ふじん "woman"
  • 娘 "daughter" when read むすめ but "girl" when read こ
This is just a small list to familiarize the beginner with various ways in which the Japanese say "girl/girls" or "woman/women". While there is a lot of overlap between some of the terms' usages, there are actually quite a few rules, spoken or unspoken, about when you should use which ones. I'll try help make some of those rules clear for you.

Spoiler: show
  • 女の子, 女子, 女性, and 婦人 roughly form something of an age spectrum. 女の子 covers children (infants thru adolescents), 女子 covers school-age children thru younger women, 女性 covers women (young adults on up), and 婦人 covers older women (40s or so on up). This is a rough guideline that was taught to me in a college linguistics course. It's by no means 100% accurate but I think you'll find that it does typically hold true. The takeaway from this spectrum will be explored in more detail below.
  • 婦人 contains the character for a married woman, 婦, in it. So this should help you to appreciate that you'd never use this term for younger, probably unmarried women and definitely not for girls! It's a term reserved typically for older women (who of all women are of course likeliest to be married).
  • 女性 is the standard gender term you'll find where we would say "women's ____", so like, "women's liberation", "women's restroom", "women's studies," and so on. If it was adult women vs. adult men, for instance, it'd be 女性 vs. 男性.
  • 女子 means "girl" but you tend to hear it only used for school-age girls. Toddlers are too young for it and older women are much too old, as evidenced by the 子 in 女子. That stated, the term can be and is used on occasion for some younger adult women terms, e.g. a female TV announcer can be called a 女子アナ or a female graduate student is a 女子大学生. Probably the most commonly-heard term with 女子 in it in the anime & manga culture is 女子高生 "high school girl" owing to the large number of stories which take place in or around high school settings. When it's school-age girls vs. school-age boys, it's often 女子 vs. 男子.
  • 娘 むすめ is the word for daughter. However, the Japanese use family terms as names by which to refer to strangers in a lot of situations. For example, you might be familiar with how they say おじさん (which is the word for "Uncle") the way we would say "Mister" (e.g. "Hey, Mister!") for a man whose name you don't know. Well, it's a similar idea here. In the sample sentence その娘は犯人だ! ("That girl's the criminal!"), the reading of その娘 is その こ and means "that girl" even though 娘, as むすめ, is the character which means "daughter."

This might be a bit overwhelming for the beginner but I offer it so you can appreciate that there are lots of different ways of describing females in different contexts.

Non-Beginner: quite a few words for wives
  • 妻 つま "wife", "my wife"
  • 家内 かない "wife", "my wife"
  • 奥さん おくさん "wife", "your wife", "Ma'am"
  • 人妻 ひとづま "married woman", "another's wife"
  • 女房 にょうぼう, にょうぼ "wife", "my wife"
  • 主婦 しゅふ "housewife", "lady of the house"
  • 夫婦 ふうふ "husband and wife"
  • 嫁 よめ "bride", "wife"
Believe me when I say that this too is only a partial list. There are a lot of words I am sure I am forgetting, both archaic and still in practice. However, the list above represent some of the best ones for you to learn if you don't know them already. I'll explain why below.

Spoiler: show
  • 妻 is far and away the most common term used in modern Japanese for describing one's own wife. If you don't already know the word, now's the time to learn!
  • 家内 is, like 妻, another word which usually refers to the speaker's wife. 家内 is an antiquated term though which is falling increasingly into disuse; but it is still used enough, particularly by the older generation, that it warrants inclusion here. As you can tell from the characters, it quite literally reads "inside the house" and thus evokes many of the same feelings in modern Japanese women that the home economics policies of 1950s America evoke in the modern American woman. In short, it's a hold-over from a male-dominated era and thus not used by men or by women as much anymore. The term is actually a humble term so you might hear it in polite Japanese used by someone who is socially inferior when speaking with someone who is socially superior.
  • 奥さん is far and away the most common term used in modern Japanese for describing another man's wife. It's also used when addressing the woman directly (and would translate to "Ma'am" or "Missus" over here). I'm sure you already know this word but I include it here for completeness' sake. (Amusingly, the same political incorrectness problem which plagues 家内 seems to have left 奥さん, literally "Mrs. Inside" / "Mrs. Inner Chamber", alone. No idea why.)
  • 人妻 refers more generally to married women and, when used as wife, always means someone else's wife. But it isn't something you would ever use in place of "your wife" or "Ma'am." It's a general term that you would expect to pop where in English we say things like 人妻日記 "The Housewife Diaries" or like ジェームス・ボンドの好みは人妻だよ "James Bond prefers married women."
  • 女房 I actually don't hear all that often but it's another word which you'll hear pretty much exclusively used to mean "my wife," the speaker's wife. Historically it referred to women who served at the palace. It's an interesting word for the advanced student because it uses imo the rarest reading for 女, にょう. (Note the long vowel. For an intermediate-friendly example of 女 as the related short vowel form にょ, see 女体 にょたい "female body".)
  • 主婦 means precisely both things I wrote above. First, it's what a woman would say if she was telling others her occupation and it was "housewife." Second, it carries that "the lady of the house" meaning to it.
  • 嫁 is an interesting word in that it's (imo) the most commonly-heard word where we say "bride" in English but it's also used in a few circumstances where we would instead say "wife." The two most common Japanese expressions the intermediate student will have heard 嫁 in are no doubt:
    1. 嫁に来い! (lit. "Come be my bride!"), a marriage proposal line
    2. もうお嫁さんになれない (lit. "I can no longer become a bride"), something girls say when they feel they've lost their chastity due to (for example) someone seeing them naked
    The derivative term 花嫁 (はなよめ, lit. "flower bride") exclusively carries the meaning of "bride".

Last edited by Talon87; 10-30-2012 at 11:08 AM. Reason: added missing readings
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